Ask Our Lawyer – February 2020

 Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services


While it is true that Indiana and Ohio may not have specific laws outlawing a wheelie, most states give police the discretion to cite a motorcyclist doing a wheelie with reckless “riding”.  Illinois has gone specific.  In Illinois pop two wheelies and you might go to jail as the law assesses a fine after one wheelie, but gives a judge the right to put you away for 6 months after two.  Maine is another state that disallows raising the front wheel off the ground intentionally (Section 2062), but does not use the word “wheelie”, but we get the idea.

As an aside, Guinness World Records claims that Patrick Furstenhof has the speed record while popping a wheeling – 191.3 mph.  That puts my wheelie efforts in perspective.


 See list below.  Motorcyclists are 15th – right after pedestrians on the street-14th, and cancer, stroke, obesity, smoking, drinking & falling.  This is my perspective from a while ago, so don’t let statistics lessen your riding joy.

Cause of


Annual #

of deaths



Heart disease 631,636 1 in 6
Cancer 562,875 1 in 7
Smoking-related deaths 433,000 1 in 9
Stroke 135,952 1 in 28
Obesity-related 112,000 1 in 35
Heavy drinking 79,000 1 in 49
Breast cancer 40,598 1 in 95
Prostate cancer 29,093 1 in 133
Fall 22,631 1 in 171
Assault 18,361 1 in 211
Brain tumor 13,000 1 in 298
Car accident 12,772 1 in 303
Skin cancer 8,461 1 in 457
Pedestrian accident 5,958 1 in 649
Motorcycle accident 5,024 1 in 770
Bicycle accident 820 1 in 4,717
Airplane accident 550 1 in 7,032
Flu 411 1 in 9,410
Lightning 46 1 in 84,079
Legal execution 40 1 in 96,691
Earthquake 26 1 in 148,756
Fireworks discharge 10 1 in 386,76



Always enjoy reading your column in the state Abate paper, always my favorite part to read. I read the Q & A on “Being nice for a reason” in the ABATE news and have a suggestion. Instead of waiting until the parent dies and challenging the will;

  • why not call the parent once every week to see how they are doing, if they need something, or just want to talk with their child. At some point you could even discuss the will.
  • if the parent resides far away, spend your vacation time from work visiting the parent. Let them know you are coming, plan outings or plan for work that needs to be done around the house. Plan the vacation with major doctor appointments or hospital stays in mind. If they live close, visit every week.
  • if you are out of vacation days, use the Family Leave Act. You can stay a month or more helping Your parents, if you can afford to do this. These days you can manage or attend meetings via phone from anywhere. Bring your work notes with you and keep up by using the computer at the local library. Redundant tasks will get along with or without you. Almost anything can be done via the internet, so there are no excuses for not spending time with parents.
  • if you are not employed, tell the parent you want to come for a visit, to help them out with the above mentioned tasks, and ask if they can assist with the trip expenses. After spending time with the parent, believe me you will be discussing the parents finances and other end of life issues. this will give you a chance to discuss the will and how the family is involved.
  • finally, you help your parents out and communicate with them often because you love them. They took care of you when you could not take care of yourself.

Steven W. Farmer

ABATE member since 1985  [From Rod –  Steven, wonderful advice to us all.]


(We have had a series of questions about minutes of board meetings.  What follows is a discussion of the issues confronted by boards and board secretaries.  Let us have your comments and feedback. -Rod)

Q.  Our local ABATE chapter has had some discussion recently over how we should take minutes. Someone told me they had to make verbatim transcripts of the board meetings, but others say they only have to reflect the actions of the board.

A. First, look to your bylaws for guidance. Often times, the bylaws will specify what type of minutes to use. If you have a choice, there are two choices a board secretary can make regarding minutes.  They can either record every word, or record summaries of the conversations.  Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Robert’s Rules generally favors a show-all, tell-all approach to Board Minutes.  Certainly that makes life easy when all that is done is to record exactly every comment and then show the struck language that is not part of the approved minutes. Only Board members should be privy to the “draft minutes” and then when the “draft minutes are approved,”  those minutes are published and made available to the members.  These rules regarding minutes are simple and easy to enforce.  However, these kinds of recordings may chill candid ramblings that would be inappropriate for publication – even if shown as stricken – and may contain legal issues that need to be protected.  For example, what if libel, slander or politically sensitive remarks, etc. are recorded with no way to edit or redact the comments?  Those types of comments could come back to haunt the organization in the future or cause divisions within the organizations.

The summary approach also has considerations which recommend it.  It allows brutally honest exchanges between board members, – even inappropriate exchanges – without chilling what some folks really think.  It makes the lawyers sleep better without worrying about libel and slander suits.  It allows ABATE  to put its best foot forward in the final minutes as approved by the Board.  Since we as an organization are somewhat political this may be the best choice, unless we want to run the risk of causing divisions within the organization.

Because the summary approach does not record perfectly the words and expressions involved during a board meeting, board members can be accused of inappropriate editing.  In other words, the Board is reserving the right to “clean up” irrelevant comments that may or may not be appropriate.  It then becomes important for the secretary to be judicious in deciding how the board discussions are to be summarized.

In general, given the sue-everybody mentality that seems to be running amok these days, it may be that adopting summary minutes may afford the best for ABATE boards and their members.


Q.  A friend of mine at work was going north on Route 57 from Kankakee, IL. Right before the Manteno exit, a State trooper had someone pulled over. My friend didn’t change lanes when approaching the trooper. All of a sudden, the trooper pulled out right in front of him and gave him a citation for violating the “Scott’s Law.” What is this law, and is there any defense? A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois Member

A.  The law definitely exists, and can be found for Illinois at 625 ILCS 5/11-907. Other states have similar provisions (Indiana at IC 9-21-8-35 and Ohio at ORC 4511.213). The Illinois statute requires that:

(c)        Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the authorized emergency vehicle is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, blue, or red and blue lights or amber or yellow warning lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

  1. proceeding with due caution, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least 4 lanes with not less than 2 lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or
  2. proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

(d) A person who violates subsection (c) of this Section commits a business offense punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $10,000. (emphasis added)

The statute is less than clear as to when a motorist is required to move over. It is clear that the statute requires that a motorist either change lanes or slow down. It’s still up to the officer to decide if the motorist exercised “due caution,” but the police officer is only one-half of the story. The charged person may have believed that a lane change was unsafe. A judge or jury would be the final word.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery motorcycle crash cases, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery.  In those cases, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to their motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: © 2020.

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